Friday, September 28, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Fujian Xiamen

           Others places of interest in Xiamen worth mentioning are Nanputuo temple, Xiamen Wanshi Botanical Garden and Strange SlopeNanputuo Temple (南普陀寺) is a famous Buddhist temple founded in the Tang Dynasty in Xiamen. It is so named because it is south of the Buddhist holy site Mount Putuo in Zhejiang Province. Nanputuo Temple is located on the southwest of Xiamen Island. It is surrounded by the graceful sea and the Wulao Peaks behind the temple. The Wulao peaks is a small mountain range that rises on the island. It enjoys a picturesque view of Xiamen and the surrounding district of Haicang, Gulangyu and Zhangzhou City. Nanputuo Temple has many deep caves and verdant woods. It is adjacent to Xiamen University and Lu River. I first went to Nanputuo as part of a team building trip with my Chinese colleague. It was the large temple. Behind the temple, we did a short climb up a fleet of stairs, up some boulders and arrived at the viewing area of Xiamen Island. On the temple compound there are many rest areas and a lot of holiday makers were relaxing and playing cards game called '80 points'. It is also one of my team members favourite games and not long most of them also indulged passionately in them. No matter how hard I tried, I could not comprehend fully the rules of this card games.  
At the entrance to Nanputao temple
Ascending the hill at the back of Nanputao 
temple for a breath taking view of Xiamen island
        Xiamen Botanical Garden, also known as Wanshi Botanical Garden, is on the northern slope of Shi Mountain in southeast of Xiamen Island. It was set up in 1960 and its architectural layout was Chinese ancient garden-style residence. It is about 26 sq km and houses about 1,800,000 trees. Considered as one of Xiamen's 8 major views, this garden had more than 4,000 varieties of flora ranging from eucalyptus, cactus and bamboo to orchids and ferns. Its plant diversity is so renowned the garden has even become a major research centre. It was a tough hike from the garden entrance, however it was worth the effort. I had a great time looking at the odd shaped rocks, many of which are etched with inscriptions, caves, flower nurseries, a lake, and the Temple of the Kingdom of Heaven, mesh with the greenery. My favourite place was where a tree planted by a late China leader - not far from the garden entrance.  
Great collection of cactus at the far end of
Wanshi Botanical Garden
        A Strange Slope (怪坡 - Guai Po) is a place where a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope to naked eyes. Due to the layout of the surrounding land, it creates an optical illusion that water flows uphill or a car left out of gear will roll uphill. The Guai Po we went to was at the east side of Xiamen Island. Kevin was driving and we were on our way to a dinner where we make a quick stop at the Strange Slope. It is an  unassuming small lane where it branches off from the main mountain road and it is here that the illusion begins. The main road is angled slightly downward, and together with the trees and surrounding rock when you turn onto it you get the impression that you ought to be going up. Though by no means a steep climb, when Kevin cut the engine and the car kept on rolling along. It was a weird sensation, as if we were being drawn forward by a magnetic force. We spend some 10 minutes there and satisfied, we moved on to our destination. A big tick on my to visit place list!
Tourists and locals alike tested the gravity at
Xiamen Guai Po

No comments:

Post a Comment